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Written Answers. - Health Board Services.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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 306. Mr. Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the number of occupational therapists employed by each health board area; the number, per capita of population which each therapist covers; if regulation of these services is carried out to ensure an equality of availability throughout the health board areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24565/02]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The numbers employed in all occupational therapy grades in each health board area as recorded in the annual health service personnel census at 31 December 2001, in wholetime equivalent terms, is set out as follows:

Health Board Area Numbers
Eastern 254
Midland 39
Mid-Western 25
North-Eastern 38
North-Western 44
South-Eastern 28
Southern 51
Western 46
Total 525

The ratio of occupational therapists employed in the public health service per 100,000 of the population is estimated at 13.7 based on the employment levels in 2001 as indicated above and on the Central Statistics Office's preliminary population estimate of 3.839 million for that year. The Deputy may wish to note the increase of almost 40% in the ratio from 10.0 occupational therapists per 100,000 of the population for end-1999. No information is available on the proportion of the [1098] population which each therapist covers. Occupational therapists work in a number of distinct clinical settings and specialities and hence the number of potential clients for each therapist will reflect these factors.

Responsibility for the provision of occupational therapy services is a matter for each health board through the service planning process. In planning the development of these services, boards must take cognisance of the requirement for fair access in line with the goals of the health strategy.

 307. Mr. Haughey Information on Seán Haughey Zoom on Seán Haughey  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the circumstances in which a health board will fund private therapy for a person who has a medical card; if some health boards fund people who avail of private treatment for lymphoesema, including the Southern Health Board; if the Eastern Regional Health Authority can put similar arrangements in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24566/02]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The GMS scheme is a treatment-based scheme which provides a range of services free of charge to medical card holders. In instances where, as part of a prescribed treatment protocol, referral to specialist services is deemed necessary by the patient's general practitioner, such specialist services should be provided free of charge for the patient in the normal out-patient clinics or as a public in-patient.

Responsibility for determining the eligibility of a medical card holder to a particular course of treatment, in other settings, free of charge, rests with the relevant health board. I have, therefore, referred the matter to the chief executive officers of the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the Southern Health Board for investigation and direct reply to the Deputy.


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